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Match Reports

Stunning Pools Fight Back For Win

9 March 2019

Josh Hawkes Mark Fletcher, Shutter Press
Josh Hawkes scores from the penalty spot

Craig Hignett's side came from two goals down to take all three points with a second-half comeback against Dover Athletic this afternoon.

It was a disappointing first half from Pools as they found themselves with plenty of possession but little real threat for much of the forty-five and went in 2-0 down at the break.

The second half was a different story as Hignett's side found their stride, with two Josh Hawkes strikes from the penalty spot and a great last-minute effort from Luke Molyneux sealing the comback and the win. 

Pools saw much more of the ball in the opening twenty minutes of the game but were restricted to efforts from distance and did little to test visiting keeper Lee Worgan.

Josh Hawkes fired in a strike from the edge of the box that went wide, while Luke James was at the heart of all that was good for his side.

But Dover Athletic looked more of a threat on the break and a lovely cross in from Jai Reason from the right gave Pools a warning. The cross flashed across the face of goal, just escaping the attentions of Alfie Pavey arriving at the far post.

Pavey was next up to try his luck, curling a strike wide of Loach’s far post from just inside the area.

And the visitors took the lead with their next attack, a long ball up field from Mitch Brundle catching Pools out and setting up the first goal, with Pavey volleying a smart effort past Loach to make it 1-0 on 29 minutes.

Luke James got himself into the box to shoot on goal shortly after the opener but his effort was blocked on the line, before Liam Noble sent a shot wide following good work from Kabamba.

But then things got worse for Pools as Reason got into the area and curled a decent effort into the far corner of the net to make it 2-0.

Hignett’s men now faced a real battle to get anything out of this game against a Dover side who proved a real threat on the break.

Nicky Featherstone put in an important block just before the break to deny the visitors a third as Pools went into the break 2-0 down.

It was the visitors who had the first chance of the second half too, with Jamie Allen dragging a shot wide after finding himself in a dangerous position in the box.

But then Pools started to ask questions of their own, with Molyneux instrumental in the attach; the on-loan winger first saw a shot from close range blocked out by the legs of Worgan.

His second effort, this time from distance, pulled a better save out of the keeper and won his side a corner. And Pools went closest from the corner, with David Edgar seeing his header nodded back up by the keeper and onto the crossbar before it was cleared. There were also strong calls for a penalty from Pools for a handball following the corner but the official showed no interest.

Pools got a goal back 70 minutes after great work from the busy Molyneux; the Sunderland man burst down the right before cutting into the box and pushing to the by-line. As Molyneux lifted the ball to chip it across goal, it hit the hand of Bobby-Joe Taylor and the referee pointed straight to the spot.

Josh Hawkes stepped up confidently to smash the spot kick into the bottom left corner of Worgan’s net to give his side a lifeline.

Luke James was next up and he showed that whatever Molyneux could do down the right, he could do down the left; the hard-working front man powered his way into the box was bundled over by Reason.

And the referee once again, just three minutes later, pointed at the penalty spot.

Up stepped Josh Hawkes once more and he showed a cool head as he stepped up and sent his kick into the opposite corner, beating Worgan and making it 2-2 with 15 minutes to go.

Pools lost some of their intensity as the game wore on and Dover started to put more pressure on at the other end, though Scott Loach wasn't really tested. 

Josh Hawkes had a shot blocked after being played through by Molyneux but the next time the pair linke dup inside the box, it was with more success. 

With the game in added time, Hawkes played the ball on for Molyneux and he got his just reward for a strong second half as he curled the ball past Worgan and into the bottom far corner of the net to make it 3-2.

It was a great goal and a great celebration inside The Super 6 Stadium as Hignett's side snatched the points in the last minute of the game. 


Full Time: Pools 3 Dover Athletic 2

Attendance: 3431 (31 Dover Athletic)

Pools: Loach, Donaldson, Edgar (Amos 74), Kerr, Anderson, Kitching (Molyneux 43), Noble (Hawkins 90), Featherstone, Hawkes, James, Kabamba.
Subs Not Used: Catterick, Muir.

Dover Athletic: Worgan, Lokko, Jeffrey (Passley 89), Brundle, Allen, Pavey (Effiong 66), McNamara, Gomis, Lewis, Taylor, Reason.
Subs Not Used: Walker, Nortey, Debayo.

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